Browsed by
Category: Politics

Votes at 16: A Call for Consistency

Votes at 16: A Call for Consistency

I’m not an expert on child development. I don’t know whether 17 is the right age at which we should let people get a driving license, or whether this should be changed to 16 or 18. Similarly, I don’t have a strongly informed opinion on other similar issues, such as the fact that: 18 is the age you can buy a pint of beer in a pub 18 is the age you can use a sunbed 18 is the age…

Read More Read More

Debut Conservative Home piece

Debut Conservative Home piece

My debut article for Conservative Home has been published: “Five Tests for a Good Brexit Deal.” In it, I briefly review progress on negotiation since Brexit and then set out recommended parameters for the final deal. You can read the full article here.

Against Means-Testing; OR, I Agree with Tony Benn (on this issue)

Against Means-Testing; OR, I Agree with Tony Benn (on this issue)

Means testing(1) is everywhere these days. It’s in maintenance grants and child benefit, job-seeker’s allowance and housing benefit and much more. Sometimes it seems that almost every new policy proposal involves means-testing. So how did it get to this stage, when means-testing should be anathema to both left and right wing? For those on the left, opposition to means testing has its very roots in the Labour party. Attlee’s government swept to power in 1945 after campaigning to abolish what…

Read More Read More

More Deals and No Deals

More Deals and No Deals

In the discussions (on and offline) following my recent post ‘No Deal is Better than a Bad Deal’, one idea that came up a number of times was that there was a third option, to call the whole thing off. This was invariably suggested by people who had originally voted Remain. Whilst including this option would make a much less snappy television show title, it is obviously theoretically correct that this is an option. I will even go further: if…

Read More Read More

No Deal is Better than a Bad Deal

No Deal is Better than a Bad Deal

A simple statement, this nevertheless seems to cause consternation in the hearts of those who never wished to leave the EU. And yet it is trivially, self-evidently true. Leaving aside the utter folly of announcing any other policy – one does not get good results from a negotiation by telling the other side you’ll accept any offer, no matter how bad – it is obvious that there are some deals that are worse than no deal. The deal in which…

Read More Read More

Democracy in Action

Democracy in Action

I attended my first election counting on Thursday evening. If you’ve never been to one, it’s a sight to see. Utterly simple yet incredibly effective; a community coming together to provide one of the most important public goods that we know of: democratic government. There must have been close to 200 people in the hall that night: counters, the returning officer, candidates and observers, all working through the night. The counters are (usually) employees of the local council, whilst the…

Read More Read More

In Defence of First Past the Post

In Defence of First Past the Post

Despite the British people opting in favour of first-past-the-post (FPTP) by a decisive 68:32 margin, in many of the circles I move support for other voting systems, in particular proportional representation (PR) is so de rigeur that FPTP’s merits are seldom even considered. Despite this, I continue to believe that FPTP remains  the best and most appropriate voting mechanism for political elections, and in particular significantly better than PR(1).   What do the systems involve? As a very brief summary:…

Read More Read More

Four political tribes

Four political tribes

A lot of commenters have observed, particularly post-Brexit, that the old divide between left and right seems to be breaking down. At the last election, age and level of education were better predictors of how someone voted than income or what one might traditionally think of as class. In truth, the new voting patterns are simply revealing differences that have been growing for many years, with or without Brexit: similar – if differently presenting – changes can be seen in…

Read More Read More